5 things you didn’t know about the St Leger

September 7th, 2016

The St Leger is the oldest of Britain's five Classics. It is the last of the five to be run each year, and its distance is longer than any of the other four classics. 

Bellow, we shine the Proform spot light on this year’s runners and riders using data from horses that ran in previous St Leger’s (1998 – 2015)


U … S .. A, U. S. A 

USA breed horses are typically associated with good performance on synthetic or dirt surfaces, but when digging into the stats we found that five horses of this type have won the St Leger from a population of 24 participants.

Their collective strike rate of 20.83% represents a performance 113% above what you would expect normally and although Red Verdon may need to improve further, he is the only horse declared in this year’s race flying the flag for our American cousins.

Update (9/9/16) Red Verdon is now a non runner


The Ballydoyle Battalion

Trainer Aidan O’Brien has saddled the winner of the St Leger on four occasions and at the time of writing, 7 horses from his stable are entered in the race.

His battalion is led by the seemingly unbeatable favourite Idaho who won the Great Voltigeur Stakes at York which down the years has proven to be a key trial for the St Leger.

With a price on the Betdaq exchange of 1.83, a win probability of 54.6%, the rest of the field should throw in the towel, right?

Well if you dig below the surface of the data, Aidan O’Brien’s overall performance in the St Leger is 20% below normal and we note one or two doubts in the racing media about Idaho’s stamina over 1m 6f. 

Waiting in the wings is John Gosden who has four Legers to his name and another leading candidate in Muntahaa

So, as always, it is left to your own risk/reward tolerance to determine whether the price of Aidan O’Brien’s Idaho represents value or forces you to look elsewhere.


Kept on Ice, ready for the big one.

Horses which have been kept on ice and without a run in the month prior to the St Leger (65) have won on 10 occasions and perform (based on the odds implied in their market prices) 51% above normal.

When we compared against horses that have had one run on the last month, our stats indicate that horses of this type perform 30% below their implied probability.

If horses declared so far all stand their ground at the off on Saturday, we note a number of these in the race fall into the latter category.


Horses for St Leger Classic Horses

Under this grouping, horses that ran at York (8) and Goodwood (6) prior to the St Leger have won 14 of the last 18 renewals.

We need to go back to 2012 (Encke) to find the last winner that raced at York before racing at Doncaster in the St Leger.


On top of their game

Horses that finished in the frame (first 3) in their race prior to the St Leger (101 horses), have won on 15 occasions since 1998.

In theory you could have backed every single horse of this type blindly and still be up on your investment to the tune of £52.04 at exchanges prices (51.52% ROI) to a stake at £1 and a 14.85% ROI at Starting Prices to the same stake.

So far, 9 of the 15 runners entered in the St Leger on Saturday finished the frame last time out.